Think Before You Spend
I was at the gas station filling up our van before we left town. It had been awhile since the family bus had been washed, so I purchased a premium car wash as I swiped my card and went through the pay at the pump process. When the tank was full, I grabbed the receipt spit out from the gas terminal and verified I was given a car wash code. But when I turned around to check how long the line was for the car wash, I noticed orange cones were blocking the entrance signalling the car wash was not currently in operation.
I didn’t check the state of the equipment before purchasing the car wash, and there were several consequences:
- Extra Spending : I had a $9 car wash code that I couldn’t use that day. To wash my van, I had to pay for another car wash at a different location.
- Time: I had to take the time to drive to another convenience store with a car wash. We were a little pressed for time, and this was extremely inconvenient.
- Potential Loss : I don’t keep track of litle pieces of paper well. I would now have to keep track of the receipt with the code on it until I was able to use it. The chances of me accidentally throwing the receipt away believing I no longer needed it was quite high.
Side note: I don’t understand why the pay at the pump system couldn’t have warned me the car wash was offline when I tried to purchase the car wash. Seriously, people, the technology exists.
The fallout from this specific scenario is low, but it illustrates the fact that there are consequences for not fully thinking through the effects of a purchase. Buyer’s remorse is real, and we’ve all experienced it. Here are some questions that I try to ask myself before each purchase, especially those that seem to come up unexpectedly:
- Do I need this? If the purchase is purely a want, that’s OK too, as long as I’ve gone through the paces of really thinking about whether it will bring enough enjoyment to me to make it worth the money.
- Do I have the money? Sometimes my checking account needs to be reconciled before I will know how much available funds I have. If I don’t know the answer to this question, or if the answer is â€œNoâ€, then I can’t buy it.
- Have I shopped around? I need to price compare to ensure that I get the most value for my money.
- How often will I use this? I recently saw an item I thought was neat and put it the cart. After thinking about it some more, I realized it’s something that really can only be used around the 4th of July Holiday. With this in mind, it no longer seemed worth of exchanging my hard earned cash for it. Back on the shelf it went.
Unless I win the lottery, I’ll never be in a financial state where I can buy whatever I want, whenever I want and not have to worry about depleting my funds. Each purchase has to be analyzed to ensure it’s the right decision for me and my family. The more you analyze each purchase, the easier it becomes. It becomes second nature. Sure, you’ll slip up sometimes, but it will remind you of how important that analysis is, and how inconvenient it is to see those orange cones blocking off the entrance to the car wash.
Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
How much do you think about each of your purchases?
Brought to you courtesy of Brock